HelpAge India is a philanthropic body that serves the needs of the elderly through its 250 locations across 23 states in India. The charity was however facing a big challenge in getting the right resources and supplies for them, while remain accountable to donors and other stakeholders. In an enlightening conversation with CXOToday, Partha Bardhan, CIO, HelpAge India, mentioned how migration to ERP cloud applications not only helped them automate the processes and reduce operational expenses, but enables them to focus on their core function – caring for the elderly, rather than on the processes.
Set up in 1978, HelpAge India [a part of HelpAge International] offers aged people services such as looking after the healthcare needs of senior citizens, from cataract surgeries and cancer therapies to general medicines, besides offering hundreds of them homes and livelihood.
HelpAge India CIO Partha Bardhan informed that the entire organization runs through donations, primarily from individuals, corporate houses and educational institutions, among others.
“To have greater reach to the senior citizens, the NGO recently launched a mobile healthcare delivery service. The service is expected to provide 5 million seniors by 2020 with medicines, medical care, and supplies. However, HelpAge India was facing logistical hassles in delivering those goods and services,” mentioned Bardhan.
Despite having a well-equipped call center and a number of field personnel at work, transferring details of supplies including the donations and patient records, was resulting in delays in operations. Needless to say, all this was having a bearing on its productivity.
“Without knowing exactly what our inventory and consumption levels, it was becoming a challenge for us to understand how medicines and supplies could be delivered in time to those who desperately need them,” he explained.
He added that a solution was the need of the hour, since, HelpAge was at the forefront of technology adoption since decades – that has enabled it to serve the needs of India’s 90 million elders through its various services. “IT has enabled improvements in many of our processes and systems, and that’s why we served our key stakeholders more transparently and efficiently,” said Bardhan.
Bardhan mentioned that Oracle has played a very crucial role in helping the company become effient in the last seven years. The company already deployed Oracle CRM On Demand and Oracle E-Business Suite R12 in 2010. This has helped them improve the transparency of its operations, reduced operational costs, and better serve the needs of its donors, beneficiaries and evidently – the elderly.
The Cloud Advantage
However, the current challenges triggered the company to start migrating its procurement and inventory data to Oracle Self-Service Procurement Cloud and Oracle Inventory Management Cloud – that can be accessible from any internet-connected device. Using a centralized Oracle applications, HelpAge India can now controls that allow only those individuals in certain roles to view and enter payments, expenses, and purchase order requests for their assigned projects.
“In our kind of setup, we need to justify administrative overhead and account for every rupee we receive. We also had pressure from the government agencies and third-party auditors to disclose the donation amount and in what areas. From that perspective, cloud migration has reduced our operating expenses drastically and ultimately cut inventory to near zero, thereby boosting financial transparency,” Bardhan said.
“Most importantly, we are now able to use dashboards that give us real-time insight into how much inventory we have on hand, what we need to purchase,” he said.
HelpAge also has a separate portal that is integrated with Oracle CRM On Demand and Oracle Project Portfolio Management Cloud. This helps donors track their investments against specific programs. They can also be assured that their investments are going for the right purpose, said Bardhan.
“By using cloud ERP applications to automate all of its project functions, we now have more time for our core function – caring for the elderly – rather than wasting time on operations,” said a relieved Bardhan.
[The interview was conducted at the Oracle OpenWorld 2017 in New Delhi]